Dundee isn’t particularly well known for its annual Christmas lights display.
But according to a new survey, it seems the city council is surprisingly generous when it comes to splashing out on festive decorations.
Research by Christmastrees.co.uk ranks the city council’s spending as the highest per-head out of 70 other UK local authorities included in the research. The report was based on the average spend between 2015-2019.
The survey found that, at £1,274 per 1,000 citizens, Dundee City Council spends more than four times the average amount of £292 per 1,000 people.
The study also revealed Dundee spent the second highest average amount on decorations each year, at £188,913 – second only to Glasgow, which spends a massive £419,685.
Aberdeen, the only other local authority in Scotland to take part in the survey, spent an average of £96,217 – or £421 per 1,000 people.
Even though Dundee City Council has previously been criticised for the perception that it skimps on Christmas decorations, some still balked at the figures.
John Mitchell, 73, said: “The money could go towards helping elderly and disabled people. It’s like with those e-bikes, you think there’s better places than that to spend money.
“Still, I do like them, it does cheer you up a bit when you see them, I’m just surprised they’re spending so much.”
Patrick Brady, 55, said: “I actually thought they’d spent less. If you look at other places in Scotland, even Perth, theirs seem to be better than ours.
“For that amount they should just leave the lights up all year round. It would save them having to take them down. I’m thinking the money could be better spent on a rehab clinic.”
Charlotte Downie, 24, said: “I would say I do like them, but you can’t really see that price tag, especially if you compare it to somewhere like Glasgow.
“I know the money could go to more important things, but I think the lights will cheer people up, especially this year.”
Student Sarah Gardener, 18, said: “In Glasgow they have this big light switch-on, but it costs £14 to get in, so I do think that for about £1 a head what we’ve got is probably OK.”
Her friends Matt Dimelo and Gemma Coan, both 18-year-old students, also approve of the festive displays.
Matt said: “When it comes to the tree it definitely does show how much they’ve paid. It’s especially nice at night when everything is all lit up and you can really see how nice it is. I think it’s extra important this year.”
Gemma added: “The decorations aren’t too bad. There’s obviously other things the money could have gone too, but I think this is still something important that people need.”
This year Dundee City Council announced its first ever £50,000 Festive Fund to support 23 community Christmas celebrations.
Grants of between £500 and £8,000 were on offer with applicants expected to meet at least one third of the cost.
Successful applications included a “Creative Christmas Challenge” for the Bottom of the Hill Focus Group who will work with local residents to create themed community artwork.
Fintry Community Council will decorate the village green and Scrapantics will provide materials to hundreds of households to create window displays.
A council spokeswoman said: “Dundee City Council has funded Christmas trees, lights and other events in various locations throughout the city.
“In August, we carried out a review of our Christmas Lights and festive events funding.
“A review of Christmas trees across the city saw the creation of a Festive Fund which will provide transparent and fair access to funds for every community in the city.”